Michigan coach says, "We're not the biggest on the block. Michigan State is bigger than us on the block."
Detroit — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects some Southeastern Conference coaches to attend his "Exposure U" camp next month in Ann Arbor.
After mounting criticism of Harbaugh's satellite camp tour that begins next week in Indianapolis — he and his staff will work one-day high school camps including in Florida, Texas and California — he issued an open invitation to two coaches from every college in the country to attend the Michigan camp June 14-17.
But here's the rub: The SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference don't allow their coaches to work a camp outside a 50-mile radius of their schools. It's a topic that has been hotly debated in college football and this week is being deliberated during the SEC meetings in Florida.
Harbaugh, speaking at a Detroit high school coaches clinic Wednesday, said he doesn't understand why his approach to summer high school "satellite camps" has created such a stir, and believes they should be the norm in an effort to maintain the sport of football.
Harbaugh, in his first season as the Wolverines' head coach, said Wednesday while speaking to a small group of reporters that he has had some SEC coaches take him up on the invitation to be a camp speaker or participant but would not reveal their names. Their appearances at the camp would require a change in the SEC and ACC rules.
"I predict there will be SEC coaches at the camp," Harbaugh said assuredly. "I predict they'll be working at the camp. I think they're going to change the rule. I believe they will (make the rule change), because it's the right thing for the game."
A Detroit News poll of Big Ten coaches earlier this month revealed most conference coaches were planning to decline the invitation. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, according to Harbaugh, will be a keynote speaker, however.
The SEC coaches want the NCAA to step in and level the playing field and prohibit football staffs from being able to participate in these satellite camps.
"We have a lot of crazy rules," Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters this week at the SEC meetings. "A head coach is not allowed to go out during an evaluation period in the spring, but you can go have a satellite camp anywhere in the country, to bring your staff in and bring players to it? Does that make any sense to anybody?
"The only time that you should be able to have camp is on your campus. And if the player is interested enough to come to a camp on your campus, then that should be the way it is. All right? Now it's not that way. It's that way in our league."
Harbaugh said he does not know why this issue of satellite camps has stirred so much emotion.
"I don't know why it would be controversial — it's not a new concept," Harbaugh said during the event at the Horatio Williams Foundation center. "It's what's best for the high school players, it's what's best for football. To have coaches from all over the country come to football camps in Michigan and to be able to notice players to be able to encourage players, to be able to give them a dream of playing at the next level and an opportunity to do that, it's good for the high school football players.
"To be introduced to football or be re-introduced to football and have an experience where they get coached on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling, also for the safety, it's good for the game. It's the way it was. It's the way I remembered it when I went to football camps in high school. There were Ivy League coaches, there were Big Ten coaches, there were MAC coaches, there were Southeastern coaches, coaches from around the Midwest and the state. That was good. Someone was watching you, and you wanted to put your best foot forward and you wanted to learn and relationships were built out of that. Opportunities were realized because of that. It seems pretty selfish to not want that for the high school players and not want that for the high school players in your own state. It just seems right."